Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Progress on Projects

Winch Stand

The winch stand has been built. Sunday morning while Ron shopped for chain and hardware at Ace, I wandered around. One thing I found was a Workmate workbench/sawhorse on steroids on sale. It's the "original" Workmate model, which isn't as big as the other two we have. We have a similar-sized knockoff in the basement that Ron was thinking of using for the winch stand, but it has a tilting top that he didn't trust not to tilt at the wrong time. Ron decided the Workmate was worth the time and effort of building something (we have a bunch of pieces of 2x10 left from building the side porch).

Ron and Robin assembled the Workmate and then attached to the top of it (which is only about 1/2" thick) a piece of 2x10. Then the winch an its mounting plate was bolted to that, which required drilling divots for the heads of the bolts that hold the winch to the plate. It sounds complex, but it isn't too bad. They also attached the rocker switch to run the winch, and tied the wiring down neatly, and even put in terminals (bolts) to clamp the leads of the battery changer/jump-starter to.

The Workmate itself will fold up, with the winch attached, for storage. Folding doesn't make it a lot smaller, but it's an easier to maneuver form factor. Right now it's sitting in the dining room (unfolded - more stable) until we get the new trailer, which is where it will live. AFAIK there's no plans to make loading/unloading the trailer winch-assisted.

While we were out getting parts, we also went to Harbor Freight (home of cheap but useful crap!) for tow straps to tie the winch stand back to the opposite end of the side porch. I believe the plan is that they will pull against the 8" or 10" diameter posts that are sunk at least 4' deep. Or maybe 3' deep. Whichever, they're plenty strong enough. When the winch isn't in use a piece of sacrificial rope will be left to pull the straps into position when needed, so we only have to send somebody (Robin) under the porch once - the rope can be pulled back into place with the tow straps when we're done with them - and the tow straps don't degrade by being out in the sun and weather.

The plan at this point is to test the system next weekend with the big yellow bin. We're not absolutely confident the Workmate is up to the task, or there may be some other bug in the system that will take time to work out, even if just the first time. It's almost guaranteed something will come up we didn't think of, really. Testing before we're trying to get ready for an event makes those kind of discoveries a lot less stressful.

Steampunk Pockets

I finally finished the set I was hand-sewing Friday night! Yay!

I asked Ron if a template to help glue gussets in place prior to sewing would help, and he thinks it would, so we picked up some more plexi to make a couple templates for that. Menard's didn't have much clear stuff in the thickness I wanted (1/4" or so) that wasn't overly-large sheets. Fortunately, Robin noticed that the black and grey translucent were available in thicker stock. Usually I use clear plexi or lexan for templates, so I can see any scars, whatnot that I want to avoid (or highlight for character). But these aren't for layout prior to cutting, so that's not an issue. Templates not produced yet, but I haven't cut out any more gusseted pockets yet, either.

Ron really likes that method of attaching to/hanging from a belt, and suggested we do some of our other pouches that way. I had some hard pouch fronts in the dining room that didn't have backs/flaps yet, so I said we could try it with those. Sunday evening I laid out backs to use that kind of hanging belt loop, and a separate flap attached to the back. I did the large and medium hard squares, and the shield pouch. I didn't have a shield front molded, but I decided to lay out all three at once so I wouldn't have to go back and re-create my thought processes.

I cut out backs and flaps for the two square pouches, Ron sewed on the belt loops, and I laced around the flaps. Then we noticed that I'd cut the notch in the smaller square too deep. Ron suggested a way of using it as it was cut with a slight modification to the flap, but I wasn't entirely happy with it and cut out a new one last night.

Once the flaps are sewn to the backs and fronts are waxed, I'll finish lacing them together pretty much like I usually do.

Secret Pocket Modification

The Fire Mountain Gem order is out for delivery. Tomorrow I'll stop being a secretive nuisance and have pictures! I'm excited, I hope people like it as well as we do!

Beer Gut Bag

Ok, this one is actually a new project. I got e-mail from an overseas customer last week asking about shipping cost, and wasn't scared away by the answer!

A deposit has been paid, and we've got a Beer Gut on the mold and drying. It's a somewhat extreme shape, only the fourth one of them we've done, and at long intervals, so molding it was not as simple as the pouches we usually do. This morning it was mostly dry, and looking good. I think we can probably loosen up the clamps tonight, but we'll leave it reasonably undisturbed for another day or night after we do so.

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